Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thieves Need Not Apply!

There are myriad places to buy second hand goods online these days, and many items exchange hands for large sums of money. But buyers face a problem – how do they know they’re buying from the rightful owner and the goods aren’t stolen? Perfecto attempts to solve this problem in one market at least – the thriving market for secondhand bicycles.

Sellers first create an account and connect it to Strava , a mobile tracking app for running and cycling. Then they make a listing for their bike, which includes its Strava history, enabling buyers to view the seller’s riding information. Next, sellers must add their bike’s serial number, which Perfecto can use to verify its authenticity, by checking it against databases of stolen bikes. Users can discuss a potential sale through the platform and also give ratings once the sale is complete.

Perfecto is currently available in the US only. Something to copy here perhaps?  Or could the business model be copied and adapted for other categories of secondhand goods?

Disposable Bed Sheets

College students are not particularly well known for their cleanly habits. It’s perhaps with them in mind that Beantown Bedding have developed laundry free sheets made from a biodegradable fibre called Tencel. The sheets can be used for a couple of weeks and then thrown out to compost. Other viable markets include hotels, B&B’s and hospitals

This seems to be confined to the United States at the moment, so importing the idea to the UK could be worth investigating. Thinking more widely, might there be other opportunities to extend the disposable idea to other products, using material like this, and thereby reduce, or eliminate, the need for laundry?

Bike Art

All cyclists face the same problem – where do you store your bikes when you’re not using them? If you have a garage, that’s fine, but many people don’t and are forced to keep their bikes indoors. Chilean designer Manuel Rossel  has come up with a different solution.

Chol1, designed by Rossel, is a line of unique furniture that doubles as bike storage space. Instead of leaving bikes in hallways,  users can slot their bikes on top of bookshelves, onto a platform behind the sofa, or on an angular stand. Without the bikes, the pieces look like ordinary, minimalistic modern furniture.
Chol1 is currently only available in Chile, and with cycling continuing to grow in popularity in the UK, the designs are perhaps something to take inspiration from.


The Alternative Booster Seat

If you’ve ever had young children, you’ll know that they need a booster seat in the car to use the seat belts safely. You’ll also know that they tend to be quite bulky, and a bit of a pain to carry around and transport between vehicles. Mifold is a portable car seat that holds down the child’s seatbelt, offering an alternative to bulky booster seats.

Traditionally, car safety seats for children work by lifting the child up to the height of the adult, so that the seatbelt can hold them securely in. Mifold inverts the process and holds down the seatbelt instead, offering parents an affordable, convenient alternative to bulky booster seats.  Since it is light and portable it can be taken easily from vehicle to vehicle.

I mention it for two reasons:

1. Because the product might be useful to you.

2. As a mental springboard. What the developers have done here is take the usual solution (raise up the child) and reverse it (lower down the belt). Reversing the solution to a problem can often lead to new ideas. How might you use this?


The Real Self-Service Restaurant

Ever been to a restaurant that seemed under-staffed? Well I bet it had nothing on Amsterdam-based Foodsy, a restaurant with no staff at all. Customers cook, serve and even pay themselves using the food, equipment and instructions provided.

Guests are  provided with a menu of recipe cards that they can use to cook for themselves. There are also instructions for how to pour a beer and the best setting to make their own coffee. Once they have eaten, guests simply pay for their meal using an iPad app.

Foodsy is a pop up temporary restaurant at the moment, but it could be worth keeping an eye on how the concept is received.